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[Movie 2007] Secret Sunshine 밀양 Milyang


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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

'Spider-Man 3' entombs Korean prey

Spidey's sticky web turned out to be more lethal than expected for Korean filmmakers. "Spider-Man 3," released here on May 1, entangled and entombed Korean films in the past week. Even "Thousand Year Crane," the 100th film by Im Kwon-taek, crashed helplessly at the box office.

Citing poor ticket reservation data, most local theaters are now planning to stop screening Im's critically acclaimed film this weekend, sparking a dispute about whether a single Hollywood film should be allowed to dominate theaters.

"Thousand Year Crane" was released on April 12, securing some 210 screens. Since then, the film sold just shy of 130,000 tickets, falling far short of expectations, especially given that local press splashed rave reviews about director Im's latest movie.

In contrast, Spidey is casting a wider money-making web in Korea. On the opening day, the American blockbuster started with 617 local screens -- the biggest release scale this year. Given that there are a total of 1,700 theater screens, that means at least one in three screens in Korea showed "Spider-Man 3."

On the weekend, the number of screens showing the blockbuster increased to 816, pushing other small-budget Korean films out of the theaters. Not only director Im's "Thousand Year Crane," but also other well-made films like "Adeul (Son)" by Jang Jin are struggling to survive. The key issue is that audiences have only a few alternatives at this point. Yongsan CGV, an 11-theater multiplex cinema in central Seoul, has set aside eight screens for "Spider-Man 3." Lotte Cinema multiplex near Konkuk University, equipped with 12 screens, allocated six screens to the American movie.

The favorable screening conditions instantly translated into box-office profit. "Spider-Man 3" sold 502,000 tickets on its opening day, eclipsing even the country's biggest hit film "The Host," which grossed 450,000 viewers on its debut.

Ticket sales data showed that "Spider-Man 3" attracted 2.56 million people in just six days, the second highest box-office record for the opening week after "The Host."

One of the reasons for the trailblazing performance of "Spider-Man 3" is the dearth of Korean blockbusters armed with comparable artistic and commercial appeal. Although "Milyang (Secret Sunshine)," directed by former Culture Minister Lee Chang-dong, is expected to be a strong contender at the box office when it gets released on May 24, there are few Korean movies that could compete with American big-budget flicks on an equal footing during the summer season. Despite its own weaknesses, "Spider-Man 3" has all the virtues to become a blockbuster that can be enjoyed by mainstream moviegoers.

Outside of Korea, the third installment of the Spidey franchise received some critical reviews for its lengthy running time and disjointed storylines, but its shock and awe special effects are highly attractive for moviegoers who want to have pure fun.

Korean filmmakers have a tougher road ahead. A series of American blockbusters led by "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Shrek the Third" are scheduled to hit local theaters in the coming months.

The destructive power of Hollywood blockbusters has been forgotten in the past couple of years, thanks largely to the heady growth of the local film industry. Last year saw an unprecedented growth in terms of Korean film productions, but the oversupply sparked a backlash this year, resulting in a sharply reduced number of new film projects, particularly big-budget films that also come with a wide nationwide release.

The dampened investment mood in the local film industry is feared to undermine the quality and diversity of Korean films, which in turn will translate into poorer box-office scores, a spiraling crisis that hit the nation shortly after the industry witnessed the strongest expansion in decades, bolstered by the Korean Wave in Asia.

By Yang Sung-jin


Source: The Korea Herald


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Rubie, thank you so much!! You always supply us great stuff!! :D

Finally!! another great movie from Lee?..

I can see the confidence and excitment from actors and the director in the press con pics.

"A lot of stars will be there for the 60th anniversary of the festival and will stay at the same hotel. Will I have to get their autographs? I should preserve my dignity as a Korean actress, right?" <=== I love JDY's humbleness. :lol:

She shines as an actress, hope she wins award in Cannes.

SKH has a beard now. :lol: Is that for his new movie?? He looks cool in his new look.. hahaha!

Hi curuma11, good to see you here! Thanks for the warm words, really appreciate it. It's really great that there's a lot of news update available for the movie with the extensive coverage and all, waiting to be shared. Thanks to Epikt & Shirley, too for various links and related items. And with the upcoming Cannes... we can be sure that there'll be a lot of photos & updates coming later. :w00t: JDY is just so excited to attend the biggest film fest ever... finally her time to be on the red carpet... it's been long overdue, huh. And a win is always & likely possible.

Yeah, I suppose that's SKH's bandit look for 'The Good, the Bad and the Weird.' :P Wonder if it gets any more than that. :unsure: :blush:

Some behind-the-scene photos from Secret Sunshine filming, copied from CINE21 :)





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A little excerpt from Darcy Paquet on What's New at http://koreanfilm.org/new.html

-- So that brings us up to the beginning of May. Lurking just around the corner, however, is a work that seems almost certain to become the film of the year: Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine. Amid gnashed teeth and pulled hair, I missed the May 1 press screening of this film, so I will have to wait for its May 24 release. But from what everyone says, it sounds like a devastating and supremely accomplished film. Local critical praise covers all aspects of the film, but is rallying particularly around actress Jeon Do-yeon. It seems likely to rank as one of those classic performances that are remembered many years into the future. I can't wait to read the reviews from Cannes. --

Capture from Cine21

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May 14, 2007

'Miryang' to Be Released at Home, Cannes May 24


The Korean film 'Miryang' starring Jeon Do-yeon and Song Kang-ho will concurrently be released domestically and at the 60th Cannes Film Festival in France on May 24.

The film's distributor Cinema Service coordinated the date of the domestic release with the date of the film's official preview for competition at Cannes.

Before the preview screening, Jeon, Song and director Lee Chang-dong will attend a red carpet and photo event and then watch the movie with other foreign film officials.

Source: KBS Global


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Faces for the festival future

The fest zest 60


As the Cannes Film Festival celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, fest prexy Gilles Jacob has vowed to look forward, not back. Taking a cue from Jacob, we've gathered 60 people (or pairs) for the festival future from various areas of the film business. Mostly fresher names -- but also a few vets in new positions or with a particularly heavy Cannes slate -- this list includes a diverse range of buyers, sellers, talent, producers and financiers from Beijing to Hollywood, Paris, Mexico City and beyond.


among the list include

Jeon Do-yeon

Thesp has won cartloads of acting awards in her native Korea but has yet to appear in a high-profile festival film. This year's "Secret Sunshine," playing in Cannes Competition, could end her reign as Korea's best-kept acting secret. Recently married, Jeon, who typically takes on one project per year, hasn't yet chosen her next film.

Song Kang-Ho

Song isn't one of Korea's pretty-boy stars, but his moon face shines out everywhere from billboards to beer coasters. He's Korea's most skilled and versatile actor, despite a lack of formal training. His credits read like a Korean hit pic list: "JSA," "Shiri," "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," "Memories of Murder" and "The Host," in which he's tackled everything from wrestlers to understated cops. He's in Cannes with Lee Chang-dong's "Secret Sunshine" and is likely to star in Park Chan-wook's anticipated vampire pic "Evil Live."

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May 16, 2007

Actress without ambition gets it all

'For the first time in my acting career, I told the director I couldn't do it.'


Versatile actress Jeon Do-youn will attend the Cannes

International Film Festival with her latest film, “Secret Sunshine.” By Park Jong-geun

Jeon Do-youn is one of the most versatile actors in Korea. From a hillbilly teenager with rustic clothing in “The Harmonium in My Memory” to a housewife who lost her mind as the result of an extramarital affair in “Happy End,” Jeon has moved from one role to another and has become a jewel in the Korean movie scene.

Today, Jeon will be on the red carpet at the Cannes International Film Festival in France, promoting her role in “Secret Sunshine.”

In an interview before she left for the French resort city to attend one of the world’s most important film festivals, Jeon said she was not that confident about her role in “Secret Sunshine,” in which she plays Sin-ae, a woman who loses her husband in a traffic accident and her son to a kidnapper.

Her character lives in a country town with a name whose Chinese characters mean “Secret Sunshine,” Sin-ae almost finds relief by devoting herself to religion. Yet she loses her faith in God when she confronts the kidnapper of her son, who tells her that he has already been saved by God.

“After reading the script, I felt I could not do it,” Jeon said. “And the director said he appreciated my honesty.” But Jeon eventually decided to accept the role, thinking, “Why don’t I test myself and go beyond my limits?”

It was not easy. The hardest part was the scene where Sin-ae gets a call from the kidnapper. “For the first time in my acting career, I told the director that I couldn’t do it,” Jeon said. The director understood, waited for her to find her pace and got the scene on film.

Jeon doesn’t scream or act crazy. Instead, she swallows her grief. In a scene where Sin-ae leaves the prison after confronting the kidnapper, she simply collapses on the ground. This is director Lee Chang-dong’s way of conveying realism without sympathy. He draws the cruelty of life as it is. “I had this feeling that all the energy went out of me. I was physically awake yet mentally in a coma,” Jeon said, referring to her emotions after shooting the scene.

“Lee doesn’t give much direction, and I was sometimes angry and defiant,” Jeon continued. “Yet I now understand that the director wanted the actors to find answers for themselves.” She said the director’s style helped her stay away from the tried-and-trusted methods she had used in the past.

Film critics hailed Jeon’s performance. The film is scheduled to open next week, but critics are already giving her rave reviews. One said, “We thought Jeon Do-youn had nothing left to offer. We were wrong.”

Lee is sharing in the success, fuelling his comeback to the movie scene after years of serving as the culture minister.


A scene from “Secret Sunshine,”starring Jeon Do-youn.

Provided by the company

Song Gang-ho, who plays a supporting role in “Secret Sunshine,” said, “This film is the best production ever from the director, and it is all about Jeon.”

The filming went on for five months and Jeon found it physically and emotionally exhausting.

She coped, in part, because, she met and married her husband. “It was during the final stages of filming that I met my husband and I guess I needed some consoling from the stress of my role in the film,” Jeon said. “I usually go out with a person for at least four seasons to get to know him. But this time, everything went so fast, and I surprised myself.”

Jeon describes herself as an “actress without ambitions.” “I didn’t know I would be successful, because I thought I didn’t have what it takes to be an actress,” Jeon said. Her dream was to be a “good wife,” so now she says she has everything ― a great career and a happy married life.

What brought her this far?

“I have a strong will and I never want to lose,” she said. “Once I decide to do something, I clench my teeth and fight until I win.”

In a recent survey by the film magazine Cine 21, Jeon was placed third on a list of best actors. Among actresses, she was number one.

By Yang Sung-hee JoongAng Ilbo [sujiney@joongang.co.kr]

Source: English JoongAng Daily


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Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Diaphana basks in "Secret Sunshine"

Written by Patrick Frater

CANNES -- Korean competition film “Secret Sunshine” (“Milyang”) has been acquired on the eve of the festival by French distributer Diaphana.

Pic is the first to be helmed by Lee Chang-dong (“Peppermint Candy,” “Green Fish,) since he completed a two-year term as Korea’s minister of culture. It premed earlier this month at the Jeonju fest.

It stars Jeon Do-yeon as a widow who strikes up an unlikely relationship with a man (Song Kang-ho) while moving herself and her son to the town where her dead husband was born.

Diaphana saw the film two weeks ago and pounced. But company says it has yet to decide details or sked for pic’s release. “We will wait and be guided by the reactions of press and audiences at Cannes,” a Diaphana spokesman said.

Securing a French distributer is important for a competition film as local partner will help with press relations and likely split the cost of hosting Cannes party and promo events. Int’l sales on the pic are handled by CJ Entertainment.

Source: Variety Asia Online


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May 16, 2007

'Love affair' with Asia will be felt at Cannes fest

By Jonathan Landreth

BEIJING -- The influence of Asia will be felt from the moment Wong Kar Wai's "My Blueberry Nights" lights the opening-night screen Wednesday at the 60th edition of the Festival de Cannes.

Shot in the U.S., the Hong Kong director's English-language debut stars Jude Law and features the acting debut of singer Norah Jones. It joins three other Asian films in the official selection at Cannes.

"There is definitely some kind of love affair between Cannes and Asian cinema," said Christine Pernin, chief China representative of Unifrance, the French government's cultural envoy.

Also In Competition is "Breath," the 14th film by Kim Ki-duk, one of South Korea's biggest names on the international film festival circuit. "Breath" stars Taiwanese actor Chang Chen as a man awaiting execution who falls for a betrayed wife.

Also from Korea is "Secret Sunshine," by Lee Chang-dong, a former minister of culture and tourism and one of Korea's most respected filmmakers. Lee's 2002 film "Oasis" -- about a social misfit who falls in love with a woman with cerebral palsy -- won the FIPRESCI prize and Marcello Mastroianni awards at Venice.

In "Secret Sunshine," Lee again tackles a challenging subject, the story of a grieving widow who travels to her late husband's hometown only to find that her newfound religious faith fails her when she is struck by another tragedy.

The lone Japanese entry In Competition comes from director Naomi Kawase, who, at 27, won the Camera d'Or at Cannes in 1997 for her first feature film, "Moe No Suzaku." Kawase is back this year with "Mogari No Mori" (The Mourning Forest). Scheduled for a June 23 release in Japan, the film is about the relationship between a young caregiver and her recently widowed elderly ward in a retirement home in the mountains.

The three Asian films in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar include the debut film of Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto, "Dai Nihonjin." Ai Inoue, spokeswoman for domestic distributor Phantom Film, describes it as a "one-of-a-kind comedy." "He didn't want it to be reviewed in the orthodox way," she said.

Matsumoto told reporters in January: "I definitely don't think it's the kind of work that will be winning prizes at Cannes."

Also in Directors' Fortnight are "Foster Child," Filipino director Brillante Mendoza's exploration of international adoption, and the erotic thriller "Ploy," by Pen-ek Ratanaruang of Thailand.

There are four Asian films in Un Certain Regard sidebar: "The Red Balloon," Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's take on the classic French children's book; "Pleasure Factory," by Thai helmer Ekachai Uekrongtham, set during one night in the red-light district of Singapore; and two films from mainland China, "Blind Mountain" by Li Yang and "Night Train" from Diao Yinan.

International festivals, including Cannes, always have been politically sensitive for directors from China, who must gain Beijing's approval if they wish to get domestic distribution and avoid being blacklisted. In 2006, Lou Ye was banned from filmmaking in China for five years for taking his film "Summer Palace" to Cannes without permission. The film touched on the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

Pernin said that this year's selection of Chinese-language films came as a surprise to many Asian film fans, as little-known directors got spots at the festival at the expense of such veterans as China's Jiang Wen, who is rushing to finish "The Sun Also Rises."

"Many people thought the old masters were shoo-ins, but this year's selection shows more diversity," Pernin said. "Perhaps it was timing that worked against some films still in postproduction."

A late Out of Competition addition is the police story "Triangle" by Hong Kong hitmakers Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To.

Told in 30-minute segments and starring Hong Kong talent Louis Koo, Simon Yam and Sun Hong Lei, the film will be distributed on the mainland (now key to boosting Hong Kong's flagging local industry) by co-producer Poly Bona, the business arm of China's army.

As such, "Triangle" would have needed to get the Film Bureau's approval to screen at Cannes.

Industry insiders are watching to see if Beijing's approval of a collaborative and potentially commercial genre film was a one-off marketing decision or a shift in policy inside the notoriously conservative Film Bureau.

Mark Russell in Seoul and Julian Ryall in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Asian films at Cannes 2007:

In Competition:

"My Blueberry Nights," Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong (opening night)

"Breath," Kim Ki-duk, South Korea

"Mogari No Mori," Naomi Kawase, Japan

"Secret Sunshine," Lee Chang-Dong, South Korea

Directors' Fortnight

"Dai Nihonjin," Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japan

"Foster Child," Brillante Mendoza, Philippines

"Ploy," Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand

Un Certain Regard:

Opening -- "The Red Balloon," Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan

"Blind Mountain," Li Yang, China

"Night Train," Diao Yinan, China

"Pleasure Factory," Ekachai Uekrongtham, Singapore

Short films:

"Grandma," Anthony Chen, Singapore

"My Dear Rosetta," Hae-hoon Yang, South Korea

Special screenings, Out of Competition:

"He Fengming," Wang Bing, China

Critics Week

"Funukedomo, Kanashimi No Ai Wo Misero," Daihachi Yoshida, Japan

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


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Guest valenti

for sure this will be a good movie because of the director, the actors and of course the story. i hope i could watch this kmovie because i don't know if there will be a chance here in the Philippines to show the movies involve in the Cannes competition this year. :mellow:

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New Secret Sunshine movie poster, courtesy CINE21


Secret Sunshine Schedule


A woman deeply grieving the loss of both her husband and only son seeks to start life anew in her husband's small hometown. 15 and over. 142 minutes (coming to theaters on May 23rd).

- Megabox Coex (1544-0600) near exits 5 and 6 of Samseong Station on subway line 2

- Cine City (1644-0757) near exit 3 of Gangnam Office Station on subway line 7.

- Primus Sillim (1544-5522) near exit 7 of Sillim Station on subway line 2.

- Seoul Cinema (02-2277-2014) near exit 14 of Jongno 3-ga Station on subway lines 1, 3, and 5.

- Daehan Cinema (02-3393-3500) near exit 1 of Chungmuro Station on subway lines 3 and 4.

Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2...5/135_3099.html

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Guest Epikt

Promice, on day I'll open a Lee Chang-Dong tread :sweatingbullets:

KOFIC Publishes New English-Language Book on Lee Chang-dong

source : twitch

KOFIC has just announced the latest addition to its ongoing "Korean Film Directors Series", a book about Lee Chang-dong, written by film critic Kim Young-jin. Content includes interviews, a biography, a filmography and synopses and examines the cinematic world of Lee Chang-dong.

KOFIC website

Buy the book

out topic PS (from the same news)

The first booklets in the "Korean Film Directors Series" were devoted to Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho and Ryoo Seung-wan, and are available for free download at the film council's English-language website. Last March, two new monographs on Im Kwon-taek and Kim Ki-young were made available through Seoul Selection, a publishing company dedicated to the spread of Korean culture. Books on Hong Sang-soo, Park Chan-wook, Jang Sun-woo, and Kim Dong-won are planned for mid-2007, while those on Yoo Hyun-mok, Im Sang-soo, Lee Myung-se, and Im Sun-rye are scheduled for publication at year's end. A collection gathering together directors Jung Ji-woo, Kim Tae-yong, Jang Joon-hwan and Zhang Lu in a single volume is also in the works.

Yaaaaahh !!! a book on Jang Sun-Woo !!! :w00t: :w00t: :w00t:

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May 21, 2007

French Portal Gives 'Milyang' Full Marks


The Korean film 'Milyang,' invited to compete at the 60th Cannes International Film Festival, is drawing rave foreign reviews.

The enthusiastic response is raising the odds of the film winning an award even before its official screening at Cannes on Thursday.

The Korean film has favorably been recognized by various foreign online film sites. On a French cinema portal, a local reporter, who saw the movie, gave Milyang four full stars.

Before the Cannes release, the film had been sold to Greece following France, reflecting a keen interest overseas.

The interest is attributed to the high quality of the film as well as the fame of director Lee Chang-dong, who won Best Director at the 2002 Venice Film Festival for his film 'Oasis.

Whether it will notch a prize at Cannes remains to be seen.

Source: KBS Global


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Guest joynara

May 21, 2007

French Portal Gives 'Milyang' Full Marks

The Korean film has favorably been recognized by various foreign online film sites. On a French cinema portal, a local reporter, who saw the movie, gave Milyang four full stars.

Source: KBS Global


I believe they're referring to this French portal site:


But the review cited originally comes from Le Nouvel Observateur, a leading news magazine in France, and the author is not a "local reporter" but one of the magazine's film critics. The actual review, which is glowing indeed, is available online (in French):


Says the film is 'impossible to pitch' as it's many things and ultimately transcends the genres, and praises Director Lee's 'serene virtuosity' in rising to the challenge; Jeon's 'extraordinary,' 'difficult to imagine a more dazzling performance' at this year's festival; and whatever might happen Sunday night, 'the competition can at least count on one worthy entry.'

ETA: oh, and predicts the film may turn out to be the revelation of the festival.

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Hi joynara, welcome to Secret Sunshine thread! So good to see you here, thanks so much for the clarification and added info. Indeed, most if not all the feedback for the movie have been really good & positive, especially on JDY's heartfelt performance. Can't wait for Cannes highlight on Secret Sunshine, I'm sure it's going to be awesome.

Hope to read your thoughts and comments, too... keep on posting. Appreciate it very much! :blush:

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May 22, 2007

Oops.. I thought the Secret Sunshine director & actors were already in Cannes. :blush: Some new pics today, JDY & SKH at airport departure for the festival.

They both looked fabulous, cool & sexy! :D




Source: empas.com

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ETA: oh, and predicts the film may turn out to be the revelation of the festival.

thanks for that translation

:) ..the results shall be shown soon, the public screening of Secret Sunshine will be on 24 May and 25 May in Cannes .


hm here some information on Milyang, the location where this film took place


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On 21th May , Song Kang Ho attented an event near the Han river , where a session with audience to talk about the movie HOST was conducted.

This is among a series of event held for the 44th Daejong award . [ for which HOST had been nominated in 11 award categories and the results will be annouced on 8 June ]

during the session mr song commented : .Secret Sunshine might not be as interesting as THE HOST but , after you finished watching the movie , you will feel as if you had just finished reading one of your favourite book 。and he went on to say : we shall be heading for the CANNES FILM FESTIVAL tomorrow and hope everyone will give us their support


22 May 2007

translated from source : http://ent.sina.com.cn/m/2007-05-22/10451563863.html

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Cannes: 'Secret Sunshine', a mysterious journey of faith

By Joan Dupont Published: May 23, 2007

from International Herald Tribune


It is difficult to picture Lee Chang Dong, the director of "Secret Sunshine," going up the red carpet. Lee, who was minister of culture in Korea, is a shy person and surely the most discreet director at this festival.

His film, which is in competition, looks quiet too. "Secret Sunshine" opens on a fable: a gentle young widow, a piano teacher, goes to a small town with her child. It is her husband's hometown, and the early signs are promising: people seem welcoming, the pharmacist smiles at her, and her small son adapts to his new school.

She also meets a car mechanic - a lumbering awkward man - who trails her, faithful-dog style.

But things are not as they seem and her life takes a tragic turn.

"Secret Sunshine" is mysterious and terrifying. At times, it feels like a thriller, with surprising twists, but it has a hidden core. It is a story of faith, how it can enter a life, and how it can vanish.

"I adapted the story from a novella," the director said in an interview. "It was called the 'Story of Insects,' by Lee Chung Joon; I read it in the 1980s. It stayed with me."

The director, 53, speaks in a whisper, which makes conversation tricky, especially at a lunch table - there's no such thing as a quiet one at Cannes - and with an interpreter in the middle.

"The kernel of the story touched me. And I thought about it for a long time, before I even made films. Later, in between films, I thought about it again, and about the fate of the heroine."

The woman's child is kidnapped.

This is Lee's fourth movie. A novelist and a professor who teaches film at the Korean National University of the Arts, he never thought he would become a filmmaker. But in the late 1980s, with video players in homes and the rise of what was called the New Wave, cinema became part of Korea's changing society. Lee worked as an assistant on a film, "To the Starry Island" (1994) by Park Kwang-Su, a New Wave director.

Today, with only four films Lee stands out on the current scene, an intellectual who searches the hidden significance in ordinary lives. This is his originality, and what gives a sense of mystery to his films.

He is a director who switches genres: "Green Fish" (1997) was a gangster movie. "Peppermint Candy" (2000) has a story that goes backward, a time trip, partly inspired by Harold Pinter's "Betrayal." "Oasis" (2002), which he calls a kind of love story, won him the best director award in Venice.

In 2002, Lee was appointed minister of culture and tourism, which certainly got in the way of making movies. He resigned two years later and founded his own production house.

The movie was made on location in Miryang, a medium-size town far from Seoul, "an ordinary city, we just know that it's a rough imitation of a big city," the director said. The city, and the film's Korean title, "Milyang," where the action is set, means "a place with good sunshine," he added. "But we have expanded it to make it secret sunshine."

Lee shot in CinemaScope for the first time. "Most suspense movies aren't made in CinemaScope," he said, "but I thought it would be a good way to show the little things, the details in our daily life. I felt that CinemaScope could be a way of telling this story which is not just about what you see, but also touches on what is hidden. I tried to compose the scenes in such a way that you are not aware of the composition, only fluidity."

We are not so much in a state of suspense, as stunned by each turn of the story. "I think that audiences today know everything, so my goal is to do something unpredictable, to show them something they don't expect," he added.

This is a movie that you can look at for the actors, but they are so good that they melt into the story. Jeon Do-Yeon stars as the frail heroine, and Song Kang-Ho, the popular lead of "The Host," is her mysterious well-wisher. Both are stars in Korea.

Song, who made his film debut in Lee's "Green Fish" as a gangster, uses his talent in a completely different way here. He behaves like a secondary character, a figure of fun because of his girth and clumsy ways.

"But if you watch closely, he is the focus of the film," the director said. "And, in a way, the storyteller. His eye is always on her, but she keeps looking up at the sky. And when she walks, she can only go in one direction, straight ahead, she can't look back. He has to follow her from a distance - if she looked behind her, she would see him."

Romance is not on her mind, not when she first comes to town, and certainly not after the drama that befalls her.

"But my focus is not on the drama, but on what happens after," Lee said. "All kidnapping cases have the same motivation and violence. It is the cruelest, most painful thing. I thought about making this film for a long time."

There are evangelistic forces in Miryang and they get to work on the bereft woman. In no time, she is converted - but that is not the end of the story. In a densely written script, stories keep blossoming: some are unbearably sad, others funny.

"You see many crosses against the skyline of Korean cities," the director said. "There are many religions and sects. My family has a Confucian tradition so I had no religion, but my wife's family was Protestant, and I taught in a Protestant school."

Lee says that things that happened in his own life made him feel close to this story. "The woman's great despair touched me. She is in such pain, but in the end, she finds something inside herself.

"I think we keep living with faith because we need it. Even atheists believe in something - in something else. Yet, I didn't want to make a movie about faith, really, but a reflection on what goes on inside us. Cinema is a great tool, a way to talk about the invisible through the visible."

source http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/23/arts/cannes24.php

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